A guy from Nebraska fatally murdered a Cedar Falls couple and their 6-year-old daughter as they were camping at an Iowa state campground in an apparent random attack.
In addition to a 9-year-old boy, the pair leaves behind a husband and wife. On Saturday, it was not apparent if the youngster was with his family at the Maquoketa Caves State Park Campground at the time of the incident.
Tyler Schmidt, 42, his wife Sarah Schmidt, 42, and their 6-year-old daughter Lulu Schmidt were confirmed as the victims by the Iowa Department of Public Safety. In the early hours of Friday morning, their remains were discovered in their tent at the campground, some 180 miles (290 kilometers) east of Des Moines.
The suspect, 23-year-old Anthony Sherwin, was discovered dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the park's woodland section, according to authorities.
Mortvedt, assistant director of DPS's criminal investigative branch, said Saturday that the reason for the attack was still a mystery, according to AP.
As far as we know, "the inquiry has not shown any early engagement between the Schmidt family and him," he added, adding that "we don't know what caused this."
Clifton Heights According to Mayor Rob Green, who claims to be a neighbor of the Schmidts, their 9-year-old son Arlo "survived the attack, and is safe," as he wrote on Facebook on Friday. When asked by the Associated Press if Arlo was at the campground or in his tent, Green said he didn't know the answer to that question. There was no quick response from authorities on the mayor's tweet or the boy's condition.
The Cedar Falls Public Library was closed on Saturday following the news of Sarah Schmidt's death.
"Like many of you, I'm saddened," Green posted on Facebook after learning the news. "Sarah and her family were regular walkers in the Sartori Park neighborhood, and I was familiar with them." This week, we were collaborating on a technology presentation for a public library scheduled for Saturday, July 26.
Green stated that the family's 9-year-old son Arlo had survived the attack and was safe. "I've informed my neighbors, and I apologize to anyone who just learned of this incident as a result of reading this article." He promised to make arrangements for memorials and services public in the near future.
By Saturday afternoon, Arlo's GoFundMe page had received more than $40,000 in donations. "Arlo is a strong youngster, surrounded by family and friends who are supporting him as best we can," said the page, which claims to have been put up by a cousin, Beth Shapiro. The page states that the money will be used to aid Arlo now and in the future.
As a result, a children's summer camp was evacuated from the park and campsite following the shootings. Mortvedt said that Sherwin was the only person still missing following the evacuations.
He said that the discovery that Sherwin was armed occurred during the course of the inquiry and "that of course raised our awareness." People in Iowa who have a permission to carry a firearm can do so in almost every part of the state. Neither Sherwin's permit status nor the type of firearm used to kill the Schmidts were revealed by authorities.
Sherwin was born in La Vista, Nebraska, according to the Des Moines Register. He had resided in an apartment complex with his parents and had no criminal record, according to the police chief of La Vista, Bob Lausten.
According to Mortvedt, the results of the autopsies on Sherwin and his victims will be disclosed over the weekend, and further information will likely be forthcoming.
Until further notice, the state park and campsite were closed. The Department of Natural Resources informed the Associated Press via email that refunds had been sent to campers who made reservations until Thursday. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has confirmed that all campers who were in the campground but were not involved in the shooting were permitted to reclaim their possessions.
SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES